For some freelance writers, it seems like asking for referrals and selling comes easy. They have a huge network of people they’ve cultivated relationships with. Their network hooks them up with new clients. And it’s easy for the same freelance writers to talk about their business in any situation, and get referrals.
That’s what successful freelance writers do. And I wasn’t sure I was cut out to be one of them if asking for referrals was part of the gig.
If you’re afraid to ask for referrals, you’ve probably heard that fraidy-cat freelance writer voice inside your head. You know, the one trying to convince you that:
- People will think you’re desperate
- You’re running some kind of scam
- You can’t possibly provide a service valuable enough to help in any meaningful way
That cat needs to go. It took me a long time to figure this out. But when I finally did, I got a response in 10 minutes, a potential project, and scored another referral for more work. Here’s how I did it:
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A lot of freelance writers have a poverty mentality. I hear a lot of, “I’m just hoping to make a fraction of what I made at my day job. I need to earn enough from my writing income to survive.”
That’s one mindset of some freelance writers. But there’s another way to approach your freelance business.
If you take the attitude that your freelance writing income is unlimited, you can see your income explode.
That’s what happened to Canadian freelance writer Sylvie Tremblay, who recently graduated from my Den 2X Income Accelerator. After a year in the program, which starts with making a mindset shift to believe in yourself, she tripled her writing income, going from subsistence, paycheck-to-paycheck living to having money in the bank, traveling, and feeling financially secure.
Among the highlights of Sylvie’s story that you’ll see in the video:
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Every day, writers email me and ask how to become a freelance writer. Where is the door that you go through where you can start earning a living as a freelance writer?
Well, I’ve created a door.
There’s so much to know when you’re getting started as a freelance writer — how to find and approach clients, what to charge, how to negotiate, and more.
But now that there are nearly 900 posts on the blog, it’s increasingly difficult to find the most useful posts that answer your particular question. Sure, I’ve got those categories in the ‘we talk about’ sidebar, but it’s still a lot of slogging given how many posts there are, and you end up looking at the most recent posts on the subject, not necessarily the best ones.
My best new writer resources in 1 spot
That’s why I’m finally getting my act together and creating resource pages that bring together the very best Make a Living Writing posts of all time on popular topics. The first page is now up, which offers my best resources for new freelance writers:
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It’s been nearly 6 years since this post was originally published — and it’s been one of my most popular ever. The need to write strong query letters has only grown in the years since, so I thought it would be a good time to put it out there again. Enjoy!–Carol
I often have freelance writers tell me they don’t think writing a query letter is worth the effort. They get a lot of rejections, and feel it’s basically a crapshoot…and so much easier to sign on to a content-mill dashboard for a guaranteed few bucks’ worth of work.
It’s true that querying isn’t a sure thing. But if you take the time to learn this skill, it can really help you move up and earn big.
I regularly get lucrative assignments off of query letters and guest post pitches, and I continue to believe querying is a vital skill for successful freelancers.
With so many writers turned off of queries, taking the time to learn how to write a compelling query letter is well worth the effort, as it makes you stand out in today’s marketplace. Querying can open doors when you don’t know anyone at a publication or company, and make a connection that could turn into an ongoing relationship.
For instance: I recently sent one query letter that got me $6,000 of assignments. And I’m reproducing it in full below.
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Want to know what a crazy writer schedule looks like? I’ve got three little kids. I have a day job as a health and wellness writer. I’ve got a solid line-up of freelance clients in the same niche and a bunch of looming blog post deadlines. Sometimes, it’s tough to get stuff done.
It’s always busy. There are a million things demanding my attention. And that doesn’t even include TV, movies, hours on social media, video games, hanging out with the guys, or sleeping in. Do people really do that anymore?
The hot 40-something woman I’ve been married to for 18 years is in grad school (future teacher). She volunteers where our kids go to school. She works part-time at a gym. And the kids have dance, Cub Scouts, homework, and probably some other activities going on that she-who-will-not-be-named will be texting me about shortly.
Then there’s my passion (some call it a sickness) for running. And I’m not talking about a 30-minute jog around the block. I ran a 100-mile race at the end of September. When the heck is there time to train for that?
Crazy. Every. Damn. Day.
How do I get it all done, and keep my freelance writing career moving forward? I don’t use any complicated planning tools to get stuff done (maybe I should), but I do follow a few basic rules to stay productive.
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